3D printing is nothing new in itself. REHAU has been dealing with the possibilities associated with it for quite some time. This process offers great potential, especially for products manufactured in small batches. Now, thanks to a special printer from Israel, the company is going one step further and enabling 3D printing of electrical components.
"We want to make our products more intelligent and thus increase the value for our customers by seamlessly integrating electronics," explains Dr. Ansgar Niehoff, head of the "Electronics into Polymers" technology platform at REHAU. In order to come one step closer to this goal, a team of developers combined the application of electrical conductors to a polymer material and integrated circuits. Thanks to the printer from Nano Dimension Ltd, a leading supplier of additive-produced electronics, Dr.-Ing. Philipp Luchscheider, REHAU project manager for this topic, is now testing various component shapes, sizes and application possibilities.
With the help of the new technology, prototypes can be produced within a few days without having to rely on many tools or external partners, and the company also saves numerous process steps. The 3D-printed electronic components are particularly interesting for products that offer little space for additional components. "Smartification is no longer just a vision for us. REHAU develops improved products for the smart home and the IoT environment, and Nano Dimension provides important technologies to accelerate the availability of promising new applications," emphasizes Niehoff.
The process is particularly economical when it is produced in small batch sizes or in a large number of variants. REHAU is currently running concrete projects in the window and automotive sectors, for example.